While most people know Ryan Dunn from his association with the Jackass movies, I know him from his staring role in a small film called Haggard. Haggard was a film made by Bam Margera. The movie was filmed in West Chester, PA where both Bam and Ryan live.
At the time the movie was filmed, I also lived in West Chester. In fact, I remember waking up on a Sunday morning noticing a great deal of traffic as I was driving to the radio station to host the Dangerous Talk radio show then on WCUR 91.7 FM. The traffic was due to the filming of Haggard at a local coffee shop.
After seeing the film Haggard, I ran into Bam and Ryan at a local bar (Kildares). I remember telling them that I enjoyed the film and both were extremely nice. Bam even went into a small speech about how the best part of the movie for him was that it was filmed right there in West Chester.
I bring this up today because for those who haven’t heard, Ryan Dunn died in a car accident early Monday morning in West Chester. He was apparently driving ridiculously fast and it is probable that he was drunk at the time. Both he and his passenger Zac Hartwell died in the crash.
Some people have said that it is no big loss because he shouldn’t have been drinking and driving. I take exception to that line of thinking. While I agree that he shouldn’t have been drinking and driving and that he certainly shouldn’t have been driving 110 mph, I still think it is a big loss. I can’t speak for the drinking and driving thing, as I rarely if ever drink and have never been drunk. But as someone who is a little bit of a speed demon (but not nearly 110 mph on that section of 322) I can empathize.
As part of the Jackass team, Ryan has done some pretty stupid things in his life (most of which was for the entertainment of others). When you are known as part of the team who does wacky stunts that often involve pain and injury, one might get a sense of invulnerability. This might have been a contributing factor. But the fact is that millions of Americans drink and drive all the time and the vast majority don’t have hit films involving wacky stunts.
Despite what religious believers believe, there is no afterlife and so while we ought to live life to the fullest (the way Ryan did) we should also be thoughtful about our choices. In this case, the choices to drink & drive and to drive ridiculously fast. We only have one life to live. I remember Ryan Dunn as an entertainer and I hope that he is remembered for his entertainment rather than his unfortunate death.